We’ve Got You Covered: The Ultimate Guide to Sunscreen

We’ve Got You Covered: The Ultimate Guide to Sunscreen

Posted by Sonia Bellini on

Good News, They Keep Getting Better

Do you remember putting on sunscreen and feeling gross, greasy, and likely to have sand sticking to you for hours on end? Good news! Sunscreen has come a long way since its conception, and can be quickly absorbed to leave a silky feeling. Even better news? Sunscreen is always getting better, and we're so excited to share our curated collection of sun block. We spend countless hours looking for sunscreens that appeal to everyone, from the finish and texture of the SPF to personal preference of mineral or chemical protection. We do this because we believe that the best sunscreen is the one you will actually wear. 

So leave the thick sunscreens behind, we've done the leg work and curated the perfect SPF for you. No more break outs or excessive oil!

Sunscreen is a preventative measure against external aging aggressors (think sunshine heat and uv rays) that cause pigmentation spots and wrinkles. Think of applying sunscreen as a daily ritual to keep you healthy both internally and externally. You will need roughly ¼ teaspoon, or 1.5ml, to properly cover your entire face. This is why relying solely on SPF in makeup products is not enough, and why you should opt-out of products that claim “all-in-one” status. Sunscreen is also incredibly important for anyone using sun-sensitizing products, such as retinol. For all of these reasons, we believe that the best sunscreen is one that you will use. Keep reading to find the perfect SPF to match your lifestyle.

“Every step of your beauty routine is irrelevant if you don’t protect your skin.” -Wayne Goss

Chemical or Physical?

A lot of our customers are curious about mineral (or physical) versus chemical sunscreens. We carry a variety of lines with both options to suit every lifestyle. We believe the best sunscreen for you is the one you will actually wear, and that will come down to the finish and texture of your sunscreen.

Think of the difference like this: a physical sunscreen is adding a physical layer to your skin to block out UVA and UVB rays. In contrast, a chemical sunscreen soaks into your skin to neutralize the rays when they hit the skin. This difference is the reason why many mineral sunscreens leave a white cast, and has turned off many people from the thought of SPF as a whole.

The mineral sunscreens we carry are the least likely to give a white cast, but still have the possibility if heavily applied; however, once dried down, we haven’t noticed a white cast appear in photos or real life, even when in comparison to a chemical sunscreen. You may want to avoid any sunscreens with zinc, however, if you have a darker Fitzpatrick type in order to best compliment your skin tone.  

Get Naked!

Wearing sunscreen is the first step to proper skin protection, but will also need to make sure that you are properly applying your SPF!

Always apply sunscreen as your last step for both face and body so that it forms a protective barrier from the sun. To keep yourself protected, we recommend covering your body in SPF while completely undressed.

Combine your body lotion and sunscreen step into one with Skinceuticals Daily Moisture SPF50 or Phytomer's Sun Solution SPF30. If you already have a body lotion you love, or don't want to combine steps, then check out Coola's range of body sunscreens. We carry both scented and fragrance free versions of cream and spray body sunscreen. Plus, an added bonus is that these won’t leave white residue on your clothes or in your car! 

Our team at Bellini's prefers to use a cream or lightweight serum SPF to start the day, and then reapply using a spray sunscreen.

If you only have the energy to protect one area of your skin from sun damage, we stress focusing on your face, neck, décolleté, and hands -- basically the top half of your body. These are the areas where our skin is thinner, and thus more susceptible to premature aging from the sun. 

Protect Your Face

Below is a quick chart to reference your skin condition and Fitzpatrick type. Click an image to be directed to your recommended product.







If you're looking for an SPF and moisturizer that will fit you regardless of Fitzpatrick type, then grab one of the following:

    Day in and Out Protection: Reapplying 

    If you’re looking to avoid sun damage, you will want to consider reapplying your sunscreen. Even if you’ve only spent the day indoors, or getting in and out of a car, you are still at risk of sun damage - this is what we call passive sun exposure.  

    So what is passive sun exposure exactly?

    Passive sun exposure is the day-in and day-out exposure to the sun without any sun protection. The sun rays begin to increase in UV intensity starting in March and lasting until late fall. While this means that you are more susceptible to sun damage during these times, you are not exempt during the rest of the year. You will need to apply sunscreen year round to avoid passive sun exposure -- yes, even in overcast Portland.

    Did you know that your car door windows don’t protect you from UVA? UVA rays are able to penetrate through glass, which causes aging factors like wrinkles to speed up. Only your windshield wiper is legally required to block UVA, meaning you should definitely be reapplying sunscreen to your hands and arms, especially if you’re driving. Traditional glass only blocks UVB rays, so every single window in any given window is allowing UVA to damage your skin.

    Think of the difference between UVA and UVB like this: UV-Aging and UV-Burning. UVA is a primary cause of skin cancer and pigmentation/brown spots, while UVB contributes mainly to sunburns. While it is extremely uncommon to "get a tan through the window," you are extremely likely to accrue damage via UVA on any given day. Below are a few examples of hyperpigmentation caused by sun exposure, which can be prevented with daily use of sunscreen.  

    But Wait - There's More??
    In addition to visible spots, the sun can also cause internal damage to the structure of your skin. Your skin is a complex matrix made up of a variety of cells, some of which include collagen and elastin. Collagen is a trendy word right now, and you may see collagen supplements, vitamins, and injections. The truth is that, like all skincare, prevention as opposed to correction is ideal; however, we do carry a variety of products that naturally stimulate your skin to produce its own collagen. This will not only benefit the production of collagen but also contributes to the overall structural integrity of the skin. When collagen breaks down it causes the skin to lose fullness, resulting it sagging and wrinkle formation. Similarly, when elastin in broken down, the structure of the skin is compromised, which causes the skin to droop. In addition, these breakdowns thin the skin, which leaves it more susceptible to sun damage.
    Collagens role in the skin is to plump, whereas elastin is designed to strengthen your skin matrix while also allowing to stretch. Both of these chemical processes are degraded by exposure to UV rays, which leads to premature aging. The damage to your skin won't show up for about 20 years, which is why prevention is so rigorously taught. The sunscreen technology available to us now makes prevention much easier, since the application of SPF has become much more enjoyable. This is a win-win for everyone involved!


    Why Do You Need to Reapply? 

    Besides reducing the risk of passive sun exposure, your everyday activities contribute to degrading the efficacy of your SPF. For instance, sweat, oil, and water can all wear down your sunblock. Open your smart phone's weather app up and scroll down to the UV Index section to see how long you'll need SPF each day.

    Did you know that you décolleté is at a higher risk for sun damage? Your upper chest is similar to the shape of a dish, which makes it susceptible to more exposure. This is even more of a reason to remember to apply sun block to your body! The areas of the body that show age the quickest are the areas where you skin is the thinnest: your hands, neck, décolleté, and face.

    A handy tip for how often to reapply your sunscreen is this: you have as many minutes as the number on your SPF. So your SPF 30 should be reapplied every 30 minutes of sun exposure for optimal protection. 

    Concluding Points

    • The best sunscreen is the one you will use
    • Always apply sunscreen as the last step of your routine
    • Sun damage takes about 20 years to show up
    • UV rays become stronger in spring
    • pick the right sunscreen for your life style and Fitzpatrick (mineral or chemical)
    • décolleté is at an increased risk for passive sun exposure, focus on the top half of your body if you're in a rush
    • SPF can wear away during the day
    • UV Index fluctuates daily
    • Reapply often! SPF is effective for as many minutes as the SPF number  

    SPF To Reapply:

    Resources and Further Reading



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